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Hey Epic Geeks,
Back in 2014, I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. I really enjoyed the books and managed to finish before the movie came out. I was really intrigued when she released Carve the Mark. I’ve heard mixed reviews but today, I’m bringing you my own.
In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift …
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth is a young adult science fiction novel revolving around Akos and Cyra. Akos is the son of a farmer and the oracle. He and his brother were taken after their fates were revealed. Cyra is the sister of the tyrant who kidnapped him. She has the currentgift that causes her pain but fills her with power. Akos and Cyra were chained together by invisible bonds, teaching each other many things. The question is if they will destroy or protect each other. This is a dual-perspective book.
Veronica Roth is a talented author and I really hate seeing low reviews just because this isn’t another Divergent. Carve the Mark is definitely an interesting book. If you’re looking for a very action filled book, don’t buy it, if I’m being honest. I enjoyed this novel but it definitely won’t translate into an action movie. Carve the Mark is very personal and impacts you on more of an emotional level. Though there are death and arenas, the scenes aren’t filled with clashing metal.
First, I absolutely love the cover. We learn what that carving the mark is actually tracking your kills in tattooed marks. Cyra has lost count of how many marks she has … not because she kills all of the people she tortures but because she counts them as a loss of life. I really loved seeing in depth emotional perception of this. Cyra believes that she deserves the torture, not them, and therefore the pain is reflected back on her.
Diversity: Chronic Pain and mental health
She is in constant pain and that hits home for me. I struggle with mental health as well as chronic (27/7) migraines and under diagnosis for what my wide-spread pain is from. It hurts to have anything rub up against my skin, some days are worse than others. I also have light and sound sensitivity. It is so real to me having daily, constant pain. A couple people very close to me have RSD (Also known as CRPS, complex regional pain syndrome). I cannot even imagine how hard that would be, especially full body. The struggles and pain Cyra bares is real in my everyday life, even if it isn’t me. Akos stops any currentgift and therefore is pain release for Cyra.
Though their romance blossomed, part of me wonders if it’s just like an addiction. Cyra finally has that pain release and though she feels she deserves the pain, Akos takes it away and that’s addicting, just like medication.
Downside: Her chronic pain is part of her “currentgift”, therefore some people see this as a gift. However, I see this as just cultural language. Currentgifts are shown in so many ways and honest, so is someone’s health. If decades ago said migraines were indicative of sensitivity to another world or auras, it could also be seen as a gift even though it’s not.
Chronic pain connects to mental health and how you see the world and I really think Veronica Roth did a great job showing this. Though there are downsides to how people perceived it, you have to see how it was intended rather than nitpicking everything. I love that I could actually see myself in a character in other ways than how they looked. Mental health was covered and so was chronic pain and it was done so well.
Carve the Mark got a lot of flack over the race diversity vs. violence and culture. Cyra is dark skinned, representing people of color. Many people claim that the Shotet (Cyra) are dark skinned and the Thuvhe (Akos) are light skinned. The Shotet were viewed as violent and the Thuvhe are “good”. Veronica Roth did address this explaining that both cultures are mixed and indistinguishable from each other in looks (full article here) and their violence vs. not are not skin-based. Not to mention … Cyra hates hurting people and does not want to be viewed as violent.
There were also links to their language and other harsh sounding languages which Roth also addressed in the above article. I personally did not have an issue with how things were represented and I don’t know how she could have done it better. Of course, let me know if you have any ideas. I don’t want to be stuck as a future author who didn’t represent diversity in the best way.
Are Cyra and her brother actually related??
Cyra’s brother, Ryzek, is the ruler of Shotet. He manipulates and uses her especially after her first kill, their mother. He makes her torture people and her secret is held over her head, threatening her reputation throughout Shotet.
His doors are locked by blood but later in the story, we find out that Cyra can’t unlock them even though she is his sister. He makes a reference that they’re only unlocked by blood, so what does that mean? Are they actually related? Do they only share one parent? His currentgift is trading memories, so did he somehow sneak into the family and make everyone forget they never had a son or this wasn’t him? DID CYRA KILL HER REAL BROTHER? Too many questions.
When the book started, the current oracle was Ako’s mother. The next oracle is his brother, Eijah. Ryzek tortures Ako’s by making his brother slowly forget him while in turn also hoping he’d get some of the power of the oracle.
Another question at hand is their mother. Their mother knew they would be found. Their father killed and them kidnapped. There is definitely some grudge against her for not even warning them, but do you think it would have happened anyway? I love the thought of time and predicting or knowing the future. Was this a fixed event? Could it have been stopped?
As usual, these are my opinions but I’m completely open to discussion. I’m sorry I didn’t cover every point in the book, but hey, that’s what comments are for, right? I really enjoyed it (and can’t wait for book 2) and would love to hear what you thought.
In the meantime, keep calm and stay epic,